Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne and Aggie head football coach Dennis Franchione accepted a bid to the SBC Cotton Bowl which was extended by bowl chairman Gayle Earls on Sunday.
“We gladly accept the SBC Cotton Bowl invitation and look forward to a great game and wonderful hospitality in Dallas,” Byrne said. “The Cotton Bowl has a tremendous history and with its location in the Metroplex, I am encouraged about how many Aggie fans will get the opportunity to attend the game and the festivities.”
It marks A&M’s 11th appearance in the SBC Cotton Bowl and first since Jan. 1, 1998 when the Aggies and No. 5 UCLA did battle. A&M lost that hard fought game, 29-23, but bounced back the next season to win the Big 12 Championship over top-ranked Kansas State in St. Louis.
“The SBC Cotton Bowl is rich in tradition and we look forward to going to Dallas,” Coach Fran said. “Tennessee is a great opponent and you have two tremendous schools with great followings, and both schools are steeped in tradition as well. I think this is going to be a great week for our players and our fans.”
This will mark the 28th bowl appearance for A&M, which has posted a 13-14 record in bowls. The last bowl appearance for A&M was a 28-9 victory over TCU in the 2001 Galleryfurniture.com Bowl in Houston.
The Aggies and Vols only meeting came at the 1957 Gator Bowl. Tennessee won that meeting, 3-0, after converting a 17-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. It marked A&M coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s final game in the maroon and white, and it capped the senior season for A&M’s Heisman Trophy winner John David Crow.
Franchione has faced Tennessee twice in his coaching career and split the meetings. Both games played during his tenure at Alabama. Franchione’s team was the victor in 2002 by the score of 34-14 in Knoxville, Tenn., avenging a 35-24 loss a year earlier on Alabama’s turf.
A&M holds a 4-6 record in SBC Cotton Bowl games.
The Aggies’ long association with the SBC Cotton Bowl first happened in the 1941 Classic with a 13-12 victory over Fordham.
A&M made three consecutive trips in the 1980’s. The Aggies beat Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson and the Auburn Tigers, 36-16, in 1986, and were outscored, 28-12, by Ohio State in the 1987 Classic. On Jan. 1, 1988, the Aggies beat the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 35-10, as another Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown, fell to the Aggies.
A&M made four appearances in the 1990s with another three-game stretch from 1992-94. Florida State won a defensive struggle by a 10-2 count in 1992. Notre Dame and its six first and second round draft picks (Rick Mirer, Jerome Bettis, Tom Carter, Irv Smith, Demetrius DuBose, and Reggie Brooks) beat A&M, 28-3, in 1993. The 1994 Classic was a rematch between Notre Dame and Texas A&M and it went down to the final minutes. The Fighting Irish held on for a 24-21 victory.
A&M’s first bowl appearance was actually in Dallas as E. King Gill, the original 12th Man, and head coach Dana X. Bible beat Centre College, 22-14, on Jan, 2, 1922 at Fair Park Stadium. Gill came out of the press box and stood ready on the A&M sideline but never entered the game. Since that time, the A&M student body “stands ready” throughout football games as the 12th Man.
The SBC Cotton Bowl is slated for a 10 a.m. (central) kick and will be televised nationally on FOX.